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Celebrating 115 Years of Phi Upsilon Omicron: Highlights from Gamma Founders' Day 2024

Founders’ Day was held at the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on February 3, 2024. Forty-one members and guests gathered for fellowship and a boxed brunch in celebration of Phi Upsilon Omicron's 115th anniversary. It was encouraging to see the numbers of attendees approaching pre-COVID pandemic attendance levels. A delicious brunch was provided by the Locust Table in Powell before Keynote Speaker Shirley Brooks Jones addressed the attendees.

Shirley Brooks Jones

Shirley Brooks Jones shared the origins of her events of 9/11. That fateful day Shirley was traveling home on September 11, 2001, via plane after visiting her granddaughter in Frankfort, Germany and was rerouted due to unsafe flying conditions. The plane Jones’ was aboard was rerouted to Gander, Newfoundland (as were all flights bound for the USA). The community of Gander rallied together in a harrowing story of strangers coming together to help people for the greater good. The town and everyone in it shut down to assist the people aboard the 38 jetliners that had to land in the small community (under nine thousand residents). The “Plane People”, as they would come to be called, stayed in community centers and a few in private residences with only a blanket and their pillow from the planes they had been on. The local people provided food and security. Local high schoolers even read books to the small children. The community feeling reminded Shirley of Vinton County, OH where she is from. When conditions were safe enough for the “Plane People” to depart, Shirley and her cohorts decided they had to do something to express their gratitude for the people of Gander.  They quickly decided they would establish an endowed scholarship fund and in partnership with the Columbus Foundation they made their goal happen! To date 381 residents of Gander, Newfoundland have received the Lewisporte Area Flight 15 Scholarship! More information can be found in the link above.

Pat Gaines

After this inspirational keynote presentation, we honored 50-year member Patricia Sprouse Gaines from Westerville, who was able to attend in person. Other members of the Gamma initiation class of '74 were acknowledged through letters (read document here). A memorial tribute was shared remembering departed 50-year members: 

  • Nancy Fisher Cline of Lakewood, OH

  • Margaret Eshler Mayer of Lakewood, OH 

  • Naurine R. McCormic of Medford, OR

  • Polly J. Poindexter of Highland Ranch, CO

  • James Van Horn of State College, Pennsylvania

Delaney Phillips, Anna Czarnecki, and Alice Miskell

Alice Miskell, Scholarship Chair, honored 3 Gamma collegiate student recipients of Phi U Scholarships: 

  • Anna Czarnecki, in memory of Alma Saddam

  • Sarah Marston, in memory of Jeanne Rumburg

  • Delaney Phillips, in honor of Dr. Fern Hunt

Collegiate Members and Michele Eastlake

The collegiate chapter, led by Founders’ Day co-chair Michele Eastlake, participated in the customary Founders’ Day Candle Lighting Ceremony. Special silver candlesticks were on display that co-chair Connie Cahill retrieved in preparation for the Campbell Hall renovation at OSU. These silver candlesticks were historically given to Phi Upsilon Omicron Initiates until 1942 when WWII eliminated the availability of silver. 

Historic Silver Initiation Candle Sticks

During the informal business meeting, the slate of officers for 2024-2026 was introduced. Connie Cahill was elected President, Cathy Clark as President-Elect, Sharla House as Secretary, and Chantel Kelly was appointed Treasurer. The installation of these officers will take place at the Spring Potluck on April 18, 2024, at Advent Lutheran Church, mark your calendar!

Special appreciation to Michele Eastlake and Connie Cahill for organizing and managing the details of Founders’ Day, Chantel Kelly for being the welcoming face of Phi U at the registration desk, Ann Paulins for encouraging the Gamma Collegiate chapter, and the students for attending the celebration and participating in the Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Founders' Day Co-Chairs: Connie Cahill & Michele Eastlake

Call to Action! Gamma Collegiate Members are actively collecting gently used clothing and accessories for boys and girls of the Legacy Academy in Linden for our 2024 Professional Project.

They need both boys and girls clothing, appropriate for grades 5-8, focusing on “professional” clothing. However, Mr. Bryant, the principal of Legacy Academy, has informed us that ALL types of gently used clothing (sleepwear, leisure, outerwear) would go to good use, as this population has very limited resources.  They will take just about “everything” that would be appropriate for middle school students of any gender. Any size garment is acceptable “we have a population of diverse sizes.”

If you’d like to clean out your closets and help Phi U's Professional Project as they mentor younger students in our community, please reach out to


Upcoming Events: 

  • March 4 - Board Meeting 6-8pm, Zoom

  • April 18 - Spring Event: Induction of New Alumni & Potluck 6-8pm, Advent Lutheran Church: 3660 Kenny Rd., Columbus, OH 43220

  • May 6 - Board Meeting 6-8pm, Zoom



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